Forecast: 'Rio 2,' 'Captain America' Could Both Reach $40 Million This Weekend
Animated sequel Rio 2 could cruise to around $40 million this weekend, which would put it in a close race for first place against Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Meanwhile, Draft Day and Oculus are targeting more modest debuts.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier set an April record last weekend with $95 million. Most comic book movies fall hard in their second weekends: similar movies Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World fell 58 percent and 57 percent, respectively. Captain America has better reviews and stronger word-of-mouth, though it would still be surprising if it dropped less than 50 percent.

Playing at 3,948 locations, Rio 2 could give the Captain a run for its money. The first Rio opened to $39.2 million around the same time in 2011, and ultimately closed with a solid $143.6 million. While it was well-liked enough, its reputation doesn't seem to suggest a huge bump for the sequel.

Rio 2 shifts the action from the bustling city of Rio de Janiero to the Amazon jungle. While that seems to move the story forward, the jungle setting isn't as immediately appealing. Advertising has put an emphasis on the returning voice cast, which includes such diverse talent as Anne Hathaway, George Lopez and Jamie Foxx. It also adds Kristen Chenoweth, Andy Garcia and pop stars Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae, which helps differentiate it a bit.

Advertisements focus on the laughs, which is always a plus for family fare. To that end, Rio 2 enters the market at a time when March's family releases are starting to fade: Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Muppets Most Wanted combined for less than $12 million last week. Rio 2 should also benefit from an upcoming schedule that is strangely devoid of family fare—the next major animated release is a full two months away.

Regardless of how Rio 2 performs at the domestic box office, its sure to be a big hit internationally. The first one earned $341 million, and this one seems well on its way to matching that number (it has already earned over $55 million).

Opening at 2,781 theaters, Draft Day marks Kevin Costner's first sports movie since 1999's For Love of the Game. He's also starred in two other baseball movies (Field of Dreams, Bull Durham) and a golf movie (Tin Cup).

In Draft Day, Costner plays the Cleveland Browns general manager who is tasked with navigating the backroom complexities of the NFL Draft Day (basically, it's the football version of Moneyball). Summit's marketing campaign has had plenty of football tie-ins: a 30-second spot ran ahead of the Super Bowl, and some ads emphasize the presence of commentators Chris Berman and Jon Gruden and Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. The goal, of course, is to reach the older male audience who has the most interest in the nitty-gritty aspects of the NFL.

Traditionally, sports movies have a fairly low ceiling at the box office: with Brad Pitt and fantastic reviews, Moneyball could only get to $19.5 million in its first weekend. Draft Day's reviews aren't particularly good (less than 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and its advertising effort hasn't been quite as aggressive. Lionsgate is expecting an opening in the low-teens this weekend.

Opening at 2,648 locations, Oculus is the first supernatural horror movie since January's Devil's Due. The movie has solid reviews (74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and could benefit from the presence of producer Jason Blum (who came on board the movie after it premiered at Toronto's Midnight Madness program last year).

Advertisements feature solid scares, though it does seem a bit close to 2008 horror movie Mirrors. Relativity Media is expecting between $11 and $13 million, which is a reasonable goal for a modest festival pickup.

The Raid 2 expands to 954 theaters after two weeks in limited release. Last weekend, it averaged $5,036 at 26 locations. In comparison, the first Raid averaged $5,880 when it was at 46 theaters. This discrepancy suggests that the sequel isn't getting a serious boost from the original's strong reputation. When The Raid: Redemption expanded to 881 theaters, it earned less than $1 million; at best, The Raid 2 might barely top that.

In limited release, salsa comedy Cuban Fury opens at 79 theaters. Meanwhile, Roadside Attractions will release David Gordon Green's well-reviewed drama Joe (2014) at 48 locations. Look for this to expand over the next few weeks.

Forecast (April 11-13)

1. Captain America - $43 million (-55%)

2. Rio 2 - $41 million

3. Oculus - $11.5 million

4. Draft Day - $10.5 million

5. Noah - $8.7 million (-49%)

Bar for Success

At a minimum, Rio 2 needs to retain most of the original's audience. Anything above $35 million gets a pass. Meanwhile, anything over $10 million is fine for Draft Day and Oculus.

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